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Game #67 Preview: Blue Jackets host Islanders after three road losses

Can the Blue Jackets score their first win in ten days?

New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - 7:00 EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Lighthouse Hockey

New York Islanders (28-27-9, 65 points, 6th Metro, 10th East)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (32-29-5, 69 points, 5th Metro, 9th East)

The Blue Jackets are coming off back-to-back overtime losses. Tonight is the first of a home-and-home against the Islanders, with Wednesday being an off day. Though the Islanders have lost two in a row, they’ve been playing better as of late — 8-4-1 in their last 13. The Jackets, on the other hand, have started to slide a bit. After climbing up to ninth place in the East, they’ve only managed 4-4-4 in their last 12 games. That’s still .500 hockey, but down significantly from the previous 15 games or so.

Player to Watch

Elvis Merzlikins

The Jackets’ goaltender has had an up-and-down season so far, but he’s shown improvement recently. It’s hard to judge the numbers this season as the Blue Jackets are on track to give up the most goals in franchise history. Both goaltenders have contributed to that not-so-good stat, but so has the defense. While soft goals and consistency have still been an issue, Elvis has looked more comfortable of late. The next two games will be a good test against a team that doesn’t score a lot of goals.

Jackets Notes

Werenski is listed as day-to-day after his collision in Minnesota … Bemstrom is 1-2-3 in his last 4 games, despite limited ice time … Voracek has only 5 goals in 63 games, but 3 in his last 10 … Sillinger has not registered a point since his hat trick seven games ago against Vegas.

Season Series

10/21/21 - NYI 2 @ CBJ 3
3/10/22 - CBJ 0 @ NYI 6
3/29/22 - NYI @ CBJ
3/31/22 - CBJ @ NYI

Stats

New York Columbus
2.70 (24) GPG 3.21 (13)
2.69 (6) GAPG 3.70 (30)
20.5% (18) PP% 19.2% (21)
82.9% (6) PK% 77.5% (20)
46.4% (27) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.2% (24)
46.7% (23) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.5% (24)
8.2 (15) 5v5 Shooting % 9.2 (5)
.927 (3) 5v5 Save % .909 (28)
Brock Nelson, 31 G Leader Patrik Laine, 25
Mathew Barzal, 30 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 43
Brock Nelson, 46 P Leader BJORKSTRAND and Laine, 49
Zdeno Chara, 77 PIM Leader Sean Kuraly, 53
11-14-5 Home / Road 18-13-3
6-3-1 Last 10 4-4-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gus Nyquist Jack Roslovic Patrik Laine
Jake Voracek Cole Sillinger Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Justin Danforth
Emil Bemstrom Brendan Gaunce Yegor Chinakhov
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Vladislav Gavrikov Jake Bean
Dean Kukan Adam Boqvist
Elvis Merzlikins
J.F. Berube
New York Islanders
Anders Lee Brock Nelson Anthony Beauvillier
Josh Bailey Jean-Gabriel Pageau Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise Mathew Barzal Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin Casey Cizikas Ross Johnston
Noah Dobson Zdeno Chara
Ryan Pulock Adam Pelech
Grant Hutton Andy Greene
Ilya Sorokin
Semyon Varlamov